Bob says he will take his time to anoint a successor and will only step down when the party is united
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe this weekend made it very clear that he is not about to step down leaving behind a fractured party.
He said he was taking his time to anoint a successor until he is convinced that the party is united and that the person to succeed him has attained the same “stature and acceptance as I have managed to secure over the years for the party”.
“There is the issue that the President is going, I am not going, that the president is dying, I am not dying,” the president said while addressing his fifth youth interface rally in Chinhoyi, Mashonaland West Province, on Saturday.
He said despite his advanced age, he was still strong enough to continue as president, adding that recently his doctors were surprised that “I have a very strong bone system” which he attributed to routine body exercise.
“I will have an ailment here and there and I go to the doctors like anyone else. But body wise all my organs, the heart, the liver are very firm, very strong,” Mugabe said.
Turning to factionalism rocking his party, Mugabe said some of those aspiring for presidency were tribalists who cannot unite the party and Zimbabweans.
“Some are divided tribally and look down upon each other and once you have that kind of talk, then you are not going to be a uniting person at all,” Mugabe said.
He spoke after his wife last week urged him to name a successor and tame the current infighting within his ruling Zanu-PF party over his succession.
Mugabe asked those fanning factionalism to “stop it” and urged warring party members to discuss and resolve their differences amicably. The 93-year-old leader will seek re-election in next year’s presidential polls after being endorsed by his party. But intense infighting continues in his party over his succession.
The veteran president repeated that the military should not be involved in the party’s succession, reminding them that the liberation struggle that brought Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 was waged on recognition that politics leads the gun.
“Fighters are led by the party in terms of war ideas. That must not be forgotten and that must not be abandoned even today, as we are in government,” he said. Addressing the same rally earlier, Mugabe’s wife Grace repeated that Mugabe will have a say on who succeeds him.
“When time comes for Mugabe to step down, no one will take over without his blessings,” the First Lady said. She said Mugabe can not leave the party in chaos after all the work he had done.
“When the time comes for him to rest, he will anoint his successor and he will lead us in that process,” she said, adding that while Mugabe appeared frail, he still had the energy to perform his duties as the president of Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, the First Lady publicly reprimanded Mugabe spokesperson George Charamba for his criticism of some government ministers and letting the state-controlled media lambaste some government ministers while positively covering others.
“You must know that you are below government ministers and you have no right to criticise them. If you have a problem with them tell President Mugabe,” the First Lady said.
She also lambasted party members pushing for the ouster of Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere from his position as Zanu-PF political commissar.
“If you have any problems with him tell President Mugabe who appointed him. Kasukuwere has no capacity to dislodge President Mugabe as alleged. No one has a right to remove Kasukuwere without President Mugabe’s approval,” she said.
She also accused some party members of concocting false corruption allegations against higher education minister Jonathan Moyo.